By Dr Helen Mason and Dr Anthony Watson, Teaching Fellows for the Food and Nutrition Degree Programmes.
Being a Food and Human Nutrition student at Newcastle University comes with some brilliant opportunities. This November, our final year students attended Food Matters Live, an industry leading food and nutrition conference held in the ExCel arena in London. This gathering of world experts, food innovators and the brightest academic minds creates a unrivaled opportunity for our students to network and share ideas with like-minded people within the UK and from beyond.
What is Food Matters Live?
Food Matters Live is a conference and community meeting point for food and nutrition minded individuals. The yearly event includes includes exhibitors and speakers from across the global food and drink industry, showcasing the latest in disruptive food technologies, sparking debate on tackling food-related illnesses and creating spaces for discussion of recent discoveries and ideas. The event fosters cross-sector connections focused on the future of food, drink and sustainable nutrition.
Seminar session topics at the exhibition were broad, covering everything from personal food journeys to new sources of sustainable protein (yes, that’s insects!). Several sessions are held simultaneously, meaning our students could tailor their session attendance and learning time to satisfy their particular strengths and interests. The seminars are chaired and presented by academic and industry speakers from around the world; perfect for budding young nutritionists to see first-hand how nutritional information informs new product development (for better or for worse!) marking campaigns and public health.
Linking experiences and degree achievement
Alongside this immersive experience, our students have a coursework assignment that ties to the conference themes. This year, the coursework was based on a scenario where a large nutrient supplements company is looking for evidence to support the marketing claim that natural products can improve cognitive health. An example of such a supplement could be anthocyanin antioxidants from berries.
Using the information from the conference session and self-searched public literature, students wrote a scientific briefing paper providing a critical overview of the link between diet and cognitive health, considering randomised controlled nutritional interventions, long term observational studies and expert opinion.
To inform this work, our students were required to attend a seminar titled “Future Landscape for Cognitive Health and Performance” which featured in the conference programme. Outside of this session, our students were free to mix and match the sessions they attended to create a personal programme that stimulated their interests and allowed them to explore industry areas they may wish to move into after graduation.
An opportunity for personal development
Attending the Food Matters Live Event contributes to a student’s personal and professional development in a number of ways, including improving confidence, developing critical analysis skills through the scientific briefing paper. Participating in such a diverse programme of talks also creates opportunities for engaging with academics, business leaders and innovators; a vital source of inspiration and insight for life after graduation.
While brains were churning non-stop during workshops and seminars, the trip wasn’t all hard work! Students blew of some steam with a visit to London Bridge and enjoyed a Lebanese meal. As the photograph above shows, students were either smiling or eating which is always good sign!
Want to know more about Food and Nutrition Degrees at Newcastle?
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To find out more about courses within our School of Food and Nutrition you can visit our Degree Programme website. You can also visit our Info Pack webpage to download our FAQ flyer, an overview of our courses and some more info about the School’s research and teaching excellence.